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Half Time in the Big Game

Christmas is almost upon us – which from an accountant’s perspective – means we are half-way through the financial year.   Now is a great time to have a mid-year check-in and review your performance to-date.   This is not just financial performance – you should have non-financial goals in mind too.

The best way to do this is to ask yourself these four simple questions:  (1) What is working Well? (2) What isn’t working Well? (3) What have you learned? (4) What is the focus?   To be able to answer all four questions effectively, you will definitely need a cash flow budget comparison report to refer to (for evidence) but you’ll also need to look at more than just numbers.  Look at what you are doing, and how you are doing it – because the numbers are the end result of all that effort.

So, let’s pretend that your business is a sporting team, and you are the coach.  It is nearly half-time in the financial year.   Like any good coach, you are going to give your team a good pep-talk and send them back out there to win the game.

  1. Look at what is going well:
    1. Analyse your revenue/sales.   Where is the money coming from?   Same as last year, or are we doing something different?
    2. Analyse the office environment/people/systems.
    3. Get to the bottom of what is working well, and ask yourself how we can do more of that.  You may need additional people/things to make it happen.
  2. Look at what isn’t going so well:
    1. Identify what is stopping you from being awesome.
    2. This could be sales, systems, people…or even customers.
    3. Think about how you can fix things or get rid of the dead-wood
  3. Think about what you’ve learned as a result of the first two points:
    1. This will typically be learning around people (customers and employees) and systems.
    2. Just like your parents used to tell you – learn from your mistakes.
    3. But also, you may have learned some positive stuff – for example picking up the phone works better with difficult customers than emails.   Or, when you stood your ground with “Joe Bloggs” on price, he acquiesced.  Or, when you lost that big customer, the world didn’t come to an end, because you picked up two more.
    4. Success is a confidence game.  Looking at what you’ve learned will build your knowledge base and that will give you confidence to reach new heights.
  4. What is your focus going to be, going forward?
    1. Build into your focus what you have learned in the above points.
      1. Things like: only one email to customers for follow up, but after that it has to be personal call,
      2. Or stand by your price because you are worth it.
      3. On-boarding and customer management processes
    2. You can then concentrate your strategies around:
      1. Sales
        1. Chasing new customers
        2. Or selling more of the good stuff to the existing customers
        3. Increasing the level of customer delight
        4. This will focus your marketing strategies, because they are different for both.   You need to get a consistent message out there.
      2. Resources – do you need more people or things to achieve your goals?
      3. Taking out the trash (systems, people or even customers that aren’t contributing value).
      4. Most importantly of all, making sure your team are right behind you on what needs to be done and why.   Ideally, you want them to come to work every day united by a common vision.  To this end, write down the plans, put them up on a board and cross them off as you achieve them.   It gives a real sense of purpose and achievement when you knock them over one-by-one.   Everybody feels like they are getting somewhere.

Once you have all the above in place, review your cash flow budget and forecast what the remainder of the financial year is going to look like.   This is where you set your financial KPI’s to keep you on track towards your own personal financial goals.   Then you’ll have something meaningful to look at…because you know that if you are achieving your financial goals, you are also achieving the non-financial goals – because you’ve prepared the financial budget from the ground-up.

Imagine how good it would be to come back from holidays in January with a united team, focused on achieving what is important for your business, and ultimately for you.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Rise.

 

 


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